“Jerome Rothenberg changed the course of poetics with the opening statement to his landmark Technicians of the Sacred: A Range of Poetries From Africa, America, Asia, Europe & Oceania: 'Primitive means complex.'
'In the late 1960s I had been looking into all poetry from around the world, particularly in some non-state cultures, what were then being called 'primitive cultures,' and found a very rich body - many different bodies of poetry there. […]'
Technicians of the Sacred effectively launched ethnopoetics, a field that ties poetry to anthropology by recording oral poetry and narrative performance onto the page in a way that reveals the poetry at its source. In practice, ethnopoetics achieves a better understanding of the fundamental nature of poetry.
Assembling that book transformed Rothenberg's own poetics, too: He became immersed in performance poetry, embracing multiculturalism by incorporating rituals from other cultures into his writing.
'I began to look at poetry as international in scope,' he said. 'There's a lot of interchange with Europe, with Asia, certainly with Latin America.'
In the preface to Eye of Witness: A Jerome Rothenberg Reader, which was published in September, he expounds on this: 'My pursuit of a kind of transcultural or global poetics: a poetry rooted in its place but capable of crossing borders and languages to become a virtual omnipoetics.'"
— Evan Karp, SFGate Read more…